A general guide for artists and creatives interested in the City’s 1% Public Art projects.
The City of Kansas City, Missouri has a long history of supporting public art. The city's founding document, the City Charter of 1926, gives the Municipal Art Commission authority to approve works of art displayed on city property. In 1970 and 1992, non-binding Resolutions proposed the creation of a public art fund.
The One Percent for Art Program became law in 1986 when the City Council passed Ordinance 60321. This ordinance states "... the preparation of ordinances for the construction, reconstruction or remodeling of any municipal building...shall include an amount equal to one percent of the engineer's estimated cost of improvement... for the acquisition and installation of works and other aesthetic adornments."
By City Charter, the Art Commission’s responsibilities include the approval of works of art on, or extending over, any City property; the design of buildings, bridges, fences and other structures built by the City; and any privately owned signs, skywalks or other structures that extend over public property. City ordinances also provide that no existing work of art owned by the City can be moved or altered without Commission approval except under emergency conditions. The mission of the Municipal Art Commission is to serve as a catalyst for artistic growth and aesthetic excellence in our communities, and in doing so, enhance the vitality of Kansas City and enrich the lives of our residents.
Use the website that KCMO has selected to manage artist applications. CaFÉ is a website tool for artists to store images from their portfolios, biographical information, artist statements, etc. The website does not charge fees for artists to store their information.
Adjust the settings of your notifications in the CaFÉ website to be notified about Calls for Artists
Many organizations that distribute Calls for Artists use CaFÉ, including numerous public art programs. Other organizations may use a different application management website, such as SlideRoom, CODAworx or publicartist.org.
Respond to a Call for Artists RFQ or RFP
The Municipal Art Commission implements an open, competitive process for all one-percent-for-art projects. Below is a typical process for what you can expect when applying for KCMO public art projects.
The public art administrator, along with project staff/stakeholders, surveys the site/s, develops an RFQ or RFP, and issues a public Call for Artists.
A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) asks artists to submit a resume/CV, a letter of interest or artist bio, and images of their previous work (portfolio images). NOTE: as an applicant, you must follow the call for artists directions, upload proper documents and meet the required deadline and eligibility to be considered.
An artist selection committee/panel, made up of arts professionals, citizens, staff, and appropriate stakeholders is assembled to study the project and review artist applications and qualifications.
Once three to five semi-finalists are selected, they are asked to develop concept proposals and make a formal presentation to the committee.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) phase asks artists detailed questions regarding their proposal, and requires artists to include a budget and renderings of their proposed artwork.
The artist selection committee/panel, made up of arts professionals, citizens, staff, and appropriate stakeholders is re-assembled to review artist’s proposals.
The committee is responsible to evaluate the work for its aesthetic quality, construction quality/durability, appropriateness to the site, and engineering/maintenance criteria.
Once an artist has been commissioned, they are given additional information and details regarding site specifics, budget, timeline, scope of the project, and often tour the site and meet with architects and other planners.
The artist may be asked to further develop their proposal, meeting criteria for the project and present his/her final concept.
Artists use a wide variety of means to communicate their ideas including blueprints, maquettes, drawings, computer-generated imagery and material samples, so knowing how to effectively communicate your idea using these techniques is an important skill.
After the selection panel chooses an artist for a public art project, the artist’s proposal must be approved by the Municipal Art Commission. Projects over $400,000 must also be approved by the City Council. Once the necessary approvals have been received, the artist enters into a contract with the City of Kansas City, MO.
To apply for most Calls for Artists, regardless of which application management website is used, artists will need:
Resume or CV
Biographical statement or Letter of Interest
Portfolio (digital images) with information about each image such as title, date, materials and budget amount and location for commissioned works
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